The NSW Government has announced a new policy on disability services that it says will pave the way for 47,000 more people with disabilities to get access to individualised funding.
The Ready Together policy will prepare NSW for the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) by July 2018 and “reaffirms” the State’s $2 billion commitment to transition to an individual model of support, according to the NSW Government
The policy includes the NSW Government National Disability Insurance Scheme (NSW Enabling) Bill, which provides for the transfer of the employment and entitlements of public sector disability services employees in connection with the Federal Government’s NDIS to another public sector agency or to a non-government sector employer.
Also part of the plan is the Disability Inclusion Bill, which will protect the rights of people with disability and promotes community inclusion.
“I am also announcing that my agency will begin consultations on new state disability legislation as part of Ready Together in early 2014,” Minister for Disability Services, John Ajaka, said.
“The draft Disability Inclusion Bill has been developed to clarify the immediate and longer term role of the NSW Government under the NDIS and will provide greater protections for people with disability.
“It will provide for appropriate safeguards and mechanisms which promote the inclusion of people with disability in the NSW community.”
However the Public Service Association of NSW is standing by its claims that the Government’s plans to outsource all public disability services to non-government providers by 2018 will be at a cost to choice, standards, jobs and conditions.
“The National Disability Insurance Scheme should improve services for people with a disability, yet privatisation removes the provider of choice for 40 per cent of people with a disability in NSW,” Public Service Association of NSW Assistant Secretary, Steve Turner, said.
“There is no guarantee privatisation of public services will deliver better choice or outcomes for people with a disability, their families and carers.
“The government-run services provide essential support and advice for people with high and/or complex needs and clients in regional areas and other locations where it is not economically viable to set up or provide a service.
“What happens to people with a disability when we lose the government safety net in 2018?”
The Ready Together package is a continuation of Stronger Together and the Stronger Together 2 reforms which started in 2006.
The Government says the policy was developed based on the feedback of more than 4,000 people with disability, their families, carers and support providers during the Living Life My Way consultations.